by Liz Caskey on August 25, 2017

Traveler_01Dear Friends, It’s been over a year since the last post on this blog. In the blogging world, that basically means forever. I would start a post here and there, but never managed to finish a single one. I wrote many posts in my head, but I never could seem to find the right words, or the right time to sit down, focus, and do the work of getting the words out of me. It wasn’t that inspiration eluded me completely. My attention and energy was pulled in another direction. Somewhere along the way, I found myself swept up in the current of life and was not tending to my own creativity. The silence on this blog has not been writer’s block nor a disappearance—it has been a self-imposed distancing, of sorts.

The pull of our attention and creative energy has been, no doubt, our family life. I was not overly public (on this blog at least) about my second pregnancy last year. Our wonderful son, Leonardo Martin Ramírez Caskey, was born on November 8, 2016 (on US election day of all days!). The months before his birth were tumultuous with our business in preparation for a very busy high travel season that would coincide with his birth. In 2017, we pretty much jumped into intensive travel with the kids with our Signature Journeys in Uruguay, Harvest Tour and Peru, and then took June and July to escape winter in the US for a little vacation and visit with my family. Leonardo is already quite the seasoned traveler!!

Traveler_02Traveler_03Traveler_04Traveler_05Traveler_06Traveler_07Traveler_08Prior to his arrival, my husband and I just expected to coast into baby #2 since his sister, Micaela, had been such an easy baby. Looking back, I realize we were totally operating on autopilot and had sort of forgotten about the demands of a baby! Of course, little Leo would have none of that. This sweet boy, an intense Scorpio, showed us time and time again, from Day One, that he was a different baby than his sister. As a GPS system advises it’s “recalculating”, his arrival proved to be one constant course correction after another.

A new baby brings so much love along with a good jostle to family, couple, and work dynamics. Prior routines are completely tossed in the air from one day to the next. I often felt that it all should be effortless in that transition of welcoming a new family member because of all the love. The reality is that some days can be tough. They are learning experiences and I have learned that love always gets you through the long or sticky moments. This time around baby and I had breastfeeding challenges (all golden now) I had not faced the first time. Literally the week of Leo’s birth, there were unexpected structural changes in our office that required me to jump into work during this vulnerable period of a newborn (for the Mother and the Child). And then, at only 18 days old, I faced a major infection that landed me in the hospital. Nature is infinitely wise and a health crisis quickly puts all priorities into perspective. I had to slow down and relinquish control to heal.

They often call these challenges “contrast” in creative circles. I think it’s the perfect term. There’s nothing like knowing so clearly what you don’t want to identify the right path (often, the opposite direction). Ultimately, the blessing of Leonardo, among many, has been this opportunity to step back and reassess where we are. For me, it’s been the opening of a more creative and deeply spiritual life. We got so swept up in the current of “what is” that we did not make the time to make sure we were aligned with living our dreams. He helped see that we needed to stop, reexamine, and ultimately redesign our life together—now as a family of four.

Traveler_09Traveler_10Traveler_11Traveler_12Traveler_13Traveler_14I particularly remember one hot night in late December. I was rocking in our bedroom with Leonardo (6 weeks old) sleeping peacefully on my chest. I gazed through the window over the treetops of Parque Forestal towards the Andes. As the blazing summer sun set, the mountains were momentarily swathed in strokes of magenta. I looked down and studied him in awe. Here was this tiny miracle that my husband and I had created. He and his sister, sleeping in the next room, were our most magnificent Creations.

“Whoa, these ARE OUR kids,” I thought to myself.

The baby factory was closed. All the years of wondering about these little souls and now they were HERE! Suddenly, I felt time moving on fast forward. School years, trips around the world, birthday celebrations all flashed through my mind. I knew it was going to pass in the blink of an eye. And then, that big question:

“What do I really want to do with my life? How do I want to live?”

I felt a rush of fear punch me in the gut. The short span of life seemed so real. How did I want to contribute? How did I want to spend my days? I needed more meaning and purpose. I decided to embrace the moment with love. I decided right then and there I would not look back wishing I had spent more time with them. It was time to live in the present and be fully engaged. These early years of their lives are too short and precious. Something had to change. I had to change. I had to scrutinize and shift my own beliefs about how I conceive my work, how much and when I work, define my true purpose in life, reengage with (buried) creativity, and very importantly, connect and allow my inner voice to speak.

Traveler_15Traveler_16Traveler_17Traveler_18This is still very much a work in progress–I don’t think I will ever “arrive”. Day by day, I gain more clarity and awareness. I feel curious and spunky again. I am called to sit down and write. Inspiration is moving through me. I am ready to go on a this fun ride together. And I am finally getting comfortable with this constant state of recalculating. Thank you, Leonardo, for helping us to reconnect us to what’s truly important.

I look forward to meeting you here on the blog again. We’ll be sharing a new post every 10 days as we gain momentum. My intent is that these more personal stories will connect and inspire all of us to step out and live a better life.

Un abrazo, Liz

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